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Felixstowe: St Andrew’s Pre-school hoping to take over Caretaker’s House and expand its activities

15:00 27 January 2013

Margaret Davey helps two girls with their play dough at St. Andrew’s Pre-School in Felixstowe, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Margaret Davey helps two girls with their play dough at St. Andrew’s Pre-School in Felixstowe, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Archant

A THRIVING pre-school is hoping to move to a new headquarters to marks its 40th birthday.

St Andrew’s Pre-school, which is celebrating the special milestone this year, is looking to move away from the home it has enjoyed at St Andrew’s Church Hall for the past four decades.

The school’s bosses have expressed an interest in the Caretaker’s House in High Road West – a facility formerly used by Suffolk Mind.

It was recently put on the market by the charity as it owns the building but no longer has a contract to run mental health services in the resort.

Linette Beasley, the school’s administrator said: “Really we have outgrown the old church hall and we need more room.

“Hopefully we could move there after Easter but it might be in June because at the moment we have to do lots of preparation.

“We are hoping to expand and not just take pre-school children but babies as well.

“It (Caretaker’s House) does lend itself to doing before-school and after-school clubs as well.

“Hopefully we will have children with us for longer and it would be nice to build a relationship with Fairfield Infants so it is not so traumatic for the children when they change school.”

Mrs Beasley has insisted nothing has been signed and discussions are still taking place with the charity – but they are hopeful the move will take place.

Currently, about 55 children come to the pre-school each day.

But if a move to the Caretaker’s House is confirmed, it is estimated that the number of children they are able to take in would double.

And the lay-out of the facility also means they would be able to offer more services and facilities.

Mrs Beasley added: “Because there are more spare rooms, we can put the children more into age groups – there is a room for toddlers, a room for babies and a room for three to four-year-olds.

“We can be more specific with those ages and what they require and we can meet the individual needs.

“It will give them a little more security and give them the space to develop.

“There is also a lot more outdoor space as well which will be good for the children to get out more freely.

“We are very keen, it suits us down to the ground.”

As well as the benefit for the children, the potential move could also result in more jobs so the school can cope with demand.

A spokesman for Suffolk Mind confirmed officials from St Andrew’s have made contact regarding the Caretaker’s House, but was unable to go into details as discussions are still at an early stage.

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